Aziz Ansari having his own show on Netflix is awesome. I’m a big fan of his work and excited to see where he goes with Master of None. And I’m really hoping it’ll be a big step forward for him.
We’ve passed the days of Peak Aziz, which probably culminated in the “Otis” music video, because let’s be real, where can a career really go after that? Aziz was on Human Giant before really breaking his career open in 2009: getting a role on Parks and Rec, a spot in Funny People so successful it reappeared in his fantastic 2010 Comedy Central special Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening. Kicking it with Kanye and talking about food, familiar and prolific on social media, it was the whole deal. And it was great.
I don’t know about anyone else, though, but I’m tired of Tom Haverford. He can’t stay young forever. And hopefully Master of None isn’t just Tom Haverford trying to make it in New York. I don’t think it will be. Sure, there are some callbacks, the familiar bits of the literal, immature-grown-man comedy that got him here—”That frittata was fluffy as hell” or “I just see black”—but there’s a lot more there.
The trailer tackles the issue of ethnic or racial diversity casting right off the bat, with the expectations of minority characters to be supporting, stereotypical roles. It’s also cool to see Aziz, who has broken past that to a certain extent, turning around with his success and making a point of it. And I’m sure that if he was asked, even with his own show on Hulu, he’d say he still faces that kind of typecasting. Hell, he even brought his own parents in to play themselves (his dad kills it in the trailer, by the way). These issues are big part of the national conversation right now and it’s important to keep talking about it, to make it present in the media we consume to influence the conversations we have. On a similar of the moment note, he touches upon the vastly different interactions women have with the world as opposed to men—in this trailer, based on social media. It’s great that his character is clueless to the horrors that lurk for women in something so benign as Instagram comments, because it should allow the show to explain to people who might be equally clueless without preaching at them. Or at least, I hope that’s how it’ll work.
The trailer also delivers on some tropes that feel like classic Millenial comedy—the Plan B scene and the openness about sex and contraception, while still touching on chivalric standards of the “my treat” line. That’s cool. But it’s also slightly darkened by Aziz’s age, which is reflected here too: dating at 30, settling down, trying to figure out if you’re ready for the rest of your life to start happening. Being an adult and thinking about kids when you’re pretty sure you were just a kid. That’s true to Aziz’s own place in life, which feels honest and scary and refreshing, which is ideal. I guess my fears were unfounded: Tom Haverford definitely grew up—and it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with that.